Cape Hallett was discovered by James Clark Ross in 1841 and named for Thomas Hallett, the Erebus’ purser. When a scientific station jointly run by the US and New Zealand was built in January 1957 as part of the International Geophysical Year, 8000 Adélie penguins were moved to another part of the cape to make way for the base. The station accommodated 11 Americans and three New Zealanders for the winter.
The base was operated year-round until 1964, when it became a summer-only facility after fire destroyed the main science building; it was then closed in 1973. Since the late 1970s the abandoned buildings have gradually been removed to allow the Adélies to return. A stained, white, domed refuge building is all that remains.
Cape Hallett can usually only be visited by Zodiac; helicopter landings are not permitted while penguins occupy their rookery.